This is a neighbourhood institution that's as much a part of the fabric here as the church around the corner.
They say there are only two certainties in life, but I say there are three: death, taxes and the knowledge that when you push through the door at Bar Desy in San Sebastian, you will be greeted by either Jose Maria or Gorka Perez, standing behind the bar.
San Sebastian is like this. Yes, it's touristy and in some ways very transient. Visitors from all over the world rush in and out like the tides at the city's two golden beaches. But the Basque Country's stalwarts are immovable, unchanging, perfectly reliable.
Bar Desy is one of those. This is a neighbourhood institution that's as much a part of the fabric here as the church around the corner, and the plaza nearby where all the kids kick footballs and the parents drink vermouth. Jose Maria Perez opened the bar decades ago, on a quiet street in Gros below a classic apartment block, and named it after his wife Desideria.
It's a tight space with a hefty wooden bar for leaning on inside, and a few plastic tables and chairs for sitting by the street.
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The day-to-day running of the bar these days is in the hands of Jose Maria's son Gorka, a dashing, moustachioed gent who is gently guiding Desy into the future, introducing craft beers to slake the thirst while customers decide on the snacks spread across the counter. There's really no decision to make though. At Bar Desy, you have to order "pan con anchoas", or bread with anchovies.
This is one of the simplest and yet greatest "pintxos" - Basque-style tapas - in San Sebastian. To make it, Jose Maria or Gorka will lightly toast a slice of crusty bread, slather it in tomato pulp mixed with a little garlic, and then layer on one salt-cured anchovy, and one vinegar-cured anchovy.
The result is salty, briny, sour, crunchy, umami-rich and delicious.
May it never change. May Jose Maria and Gorka never change. May life's certainties remain ever thus.